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Prayers, chocolate kisses and pink roses

Relatives, friends remember deceased loved ones at Catholic Hospice Memorial Mass

Ana Pupo writes down the name of her mother, who died recently, and places the paper in the basket that will be brought up during the offertory as Catholic Hospice workers Jacqueline Lugaro and Maritza Lopez assist before the start of the annual Memorial Mass.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Ana Pupo writes down the name of her mother, who died recently, and places the paper in the basket that will be brought up during the offertory as Catholic Hospice workers Jacqueline Lugaro and Maritza Lopez assist before the start of the annual Memorial Mass.

MIAMI | Ana Pupo was one of several relatives and friends who came to the annualCatholic Hospice Memorial Mass at St. Mary Cathedral.

“My mother passed away recently and Catholic Hospice workers helped my mother and I throughout her illness,” she said as she wrote her mother’s name on a piece of paper and dropped it into a basket that would be brought to Archbishop Thomas Wenski at the offertory.

From left, Martha Rodriguez de Perez prepares to bring up the offertory with Catholic Hospice's Gian Santayana, center, bereavement coordinator, and Luz Suarez Macias, bereavement counselor.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

From left, Martha Rodriguez de Perez prepares to bring up the offertory with Catholic Hospice's Gian Santayana, center, bereavement coordinator, and Luz Suarez Macias, bereavement counselor.

Martha Rodriguez de Perez, gives the basket with the names of loved ones who died recently to Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Martha Rodriguez de Perez, gives the basket with the names of loved ones who died recently to Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

The basket was on a table in the foyer of the cathedral June 16, along with little gift boxes wrapped in blue ribbons that bore chocolate kisses. Plastic doves bearing various words of consolation hope, peace, joy were attached to the boxes. Like the others who came to honor a loved one at the Mass, Pupo also received a pink rose and a rosary.

Catholic Hospice provides services to all in need. A deaf and mute woman was among those receiving help from the organization, said Luz Suarez Macias, Catholic Hospice’s bereavement coordinator and mental health counselor. Although the woman was not at the Mass, Macias described the help she was given.

“She’s coping well, but she still needs help in the grieving process,” said Macias. “She lives in Little Havana and doesn’t have family or transportation. Her mother died March 22. I will bring the gift items to her.”

Macias suggested support groups as a coping mechanism. The woman’s disability and lack of transportation make that difficult, but not impossible.

“She can use certain devices for the deaf and mute,” said Macias. “The devices include TTY and TDD services to type messages over the phone and IMO Instant Messages Online an application for video calls and chat.”

Catholic Hospice helps with programs such as Wishes Granted, Pet Peace of Mind bringing pets to the hospital and finding homes for patient’s pets and Camp Erin for kids who’ve lost a loved one. The organization also honors military veterans with extra special care, said Macias. This year, a two-day bereavement camp is planned in August for friends and family of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

“We will go through grief activities to help them cope and process the multiple losses they suffered,” said Macias. “We will advertise the camp at churches and conduct an e-blast, sending emails to kids.”

Didier Dupuy and his wife, Concette Dupuy, came to the Mass to honor Didier’s mother, who died last year from Alzheimer’s at 86.

“Catholic Hospice helped my sister who lived with my mother in southwest Miami,” Didier Dupuy said. “They received spiritual help during a tough time. This was a nice Memorial Mass. I was impressed by the many priests and nuns at the Mass and the bilingual, Spanish and English, service.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski reminded those at the Mass that in Catholic teaching, death is not the end of human life, but a door into eternal life.

“However, our dying or the dying of our loved ones is not an easy experience,” he said. “We do well to pray that death may not find us unprepared to face God. Advances in medical science pose the challenge of coping with a terminal illness which may last months or even years. More than a sudden death, many people fear the prospects of a prolonged and debilitating illness.”

The archbishop commended Catholic Hospice for assisting the dying and their friends and family.

“People trust Hospice Care as a life-affirming alternative to those who insist on futile treatment as well as to those who would shorten the lives of the ill in the name of a false sense of mercy,” he said. “Catholic Hospice provides palliative or supportive care for the terminally ill and emphasizes the management of pain and discomfort as well as giving emotional support to the patient and their family. They offer true compassion: Sharing in another’s pain and seeking to alleviate it when possible.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrated the annual Catholic Hospice Memorial Mass, June 16 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrated the annual Catholic Hospice Memorial Mass, June 16 at St. Mary Cathedral.


Comments from readers

Meredith Shuster - 07/12/2018 10:21 PM
Catholic Hospice was there for me as my husband of 36 years was dying of dementia. They were there for him caring for him as if they had known him all their life. They are angels incarnate.

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